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Old 03-28-2021, 08:08 AM   #11
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I hadn't really thought about your final option: if you start engaged, you can still enter HTH in the movement phase via a shift. I can't see any explicit reason this would be forbidden.

The primary reason that it seems to be unintended is that option (o) (ITL 103) becomes largely superfluous. Why would anyone already engaged not immediately initiate in HTH in the movement phase rather than in the action phase? It would be an odd situation where this is the thing to do.

I'll have to think about whether you can shift to initiate HTH during the movement phase (when you start your movement already engaged). At present, I can't see a strong argument against it.
It is hard to say; option O does seem to be a contradictory version of events, given that the narrative section laying down the HTH rules says you can initiate as a shift and that you resolve it during the movement phase. I think this is one of those areas where the writing doesn't give us enough to go on and we have to come up with our own self-consistent rule.

As for swarm creatures, I think the intent is that they are supposed to be able to freely enter your hex, yet you are still able to attack them with weapons, stomps, etc. So, they are something different from HTH, per se.

One thing I've been a little unsure what the rules intend is how slimes enter your hex once they are on the ground and slorping around. Do they have to follow rules of engagement and initiating HTH, or do they just move how they want and it's your job to move in such a way that they can't get into your hex (the latter is what I prefer)
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Old 03-28-2021, 08:12 AM   #12
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

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Originally Posted by RobW View Post
We run combat according to the Advanced Melee rules, which are clear on this question.
  1. Initiating HTH is an action available for any figure moving 1/2 MA or less**. This includes engaged figures who can only shift.
  2. The move onto the defender's hex happens during the movement phase.
  3. As the attacker moves onto the defender hex, it drops any non-HTH weapons and shield in the hex it entered from.
  4. The defender then rolls to see if they repel the attack, get their dagger ready, etc.
  5. If the attack is repelled, the attacker return to the entry hex but without its weapon/shield, now laying there on the ground.
  6. If the attack is not repelled, the attacker and defender go down in the defender's hex.
  7. In any case, the attacker has used their action for the turn.

So to answer the OP's question, the attempt to initiate HTH is resolved during the movement phase (alternative 1).

** given the restrictions, ie attacker has higher MA OR defender backed against a wall, prone, or kneeling OR attacker enters from rear OR defender agrees
So, this is a slightly modified version of 'option 2' above, with a 1/2 MA restriction and the stipulation that you've used up your attack. Presumably it is implied that the target of a successful HTH initiation also loses their action for the turn, since the fall to the ground?

This is one of several places where original edition Advanced Melee is clearer than legacy edition!
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:33 AM   #13
RobW
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
So, this is a slightly modified version of 'option 2' above, with a 1/2 MA restriction and the stipulation that you've used up your attack. Presumably it is implied that the target of a successful HTH initiation also loses their action for the turn, since the fall to the ground?
There's no mention of losing an action, and if one follows the AM turn sequence the defender will get an action from the list of HTH options (although they do lose any opportunity to move). That's how we play it.

Also maybe worth pointing out that, because HTH resolution happens in the movement phase, the defender will have never taken an action prior to HTH.

If one wanted to argue for the reverse, that the defender gets no action that turn, AM does indeed say both figures "fall to the ground", and does say, in an entirely different context, "if a figure is killed or knocked down before its turn to act comes, it does not get to act". But for me, that interpretation doesn't feel right. For example on a HTH resolution roll of 3/4, "the defender drops his ready weapon and/or shield, but has time to ready his dagger if he has one. He will be able to use it in his next attack. Both figures fall to the ground in the defender's hex." It feels to me like the defender as received the attack and is ready to go. I read "fall to the ground" as a shorter and more prosaic way of saying, "the defender and attacker are now engaged in HTH combat in the defender's hex." If losing an action had been intended, it would have been easy to say, "Both figures fall to the ground in the defender's hex, and the defender will have no action this turn".
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Old 03-28-2021, 09:38 AM   #14
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

That implies that the defender in a newly started HTH fight always gets a free attack on the first turn, which I'm not crazy about.
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Old 03-28-2021, 10:48 AM   #15
RobW
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Hah, well it might depend on whether your sympathies are with the attacker or defender. I'm not crazy about the fact that the defender has so few ways to prevent being taken down in HTH :)

The successful HTH initiation completely changes the terms of the combat: the options, movement, vulnerabilities, and weapons available have now all been defined by the attacker. That is extremely powerful. But, if that doesn't feel like a big enough payoff, and somehow unfair to the attacker, one can certainly make the option even more powerful, and add that the defender doesn't get an action on that turn.
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:16 AM   #16
Shostak
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Yeah, the attacker has some serious advantages, not least of which is that two-thirds of the time, their HTH initiation will be successful, and, on succeeding, they leave their opponent without a weapon in their hand half the time. From my perspective, giving the defender a chance to actually inflict damage while the aggressor can't (having initiated HTH as their action) seems fair.

As for slimes, think they are more interesting if allowed to somehow initiate HTH other than the RAW conditions. I let them establish a grapple with an amoeboid pseudopod an then use that to get them into HTH.
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:56 AM   #17
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

I take your point on the reading of option (o). It's a plausible reading. But I don't agree with the following.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
Despite not getting to actually "attack" until next turn, there's still an advantage to waiting until you're engaged to get into HTH. You don't have the restrictions the rules impose when a disengaged figure comes running in to initiate HTH as a Charge Attack under option (b). Under option (b) you're limited to attempting HTH on figures with a lower MA, or from behind, or who are already on the ground. Those limitations don't exist under option (o) for engaged figures, and that's a critical difference under the right circumstances.
Whether you use an action to initiate HTH or do it during movement, you are moving into an opponent's hex. Hence, on my reading, the following passage applies whether you begin engaged or not:
Quote:
A figure may move into an enemy figure’s hex, initiating
HTH combat, if (a) the enemy has his back to the wall, or
is lying down, prone, or kneeling, or (b) the enemy has a
lower MA, or (c) the attacker comes in from the rear, or (d)
the enemy agrees to HTH combat. Initiating HTH combat is
considered an attack.
I don't see any free pass for forcing an opponent into HTH (modulo the die roll) just because you're using option (o).

Gotta say, the wording of option (o) sure does suggest that moving into the opponent's hex and making an attack all occurs as one action. I'm currently ruling that it does not, but the literal words strongly suggest it does.
Quote:
(o) ATTEMPT HAND-TO-HAND ATTACK. During the
movement phase, the figure stands still or shifts; when its
turn to attack comes, it moves onto the hex of any adjacent
enemy, and attempts to hit with bare hands or (if it was ready)
its dagger.

Last edited by phiwum; 03-28-2021 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 03-28-2021, 01:28 PM   #18
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Once you've succeeded at initiating HTH, it is a powerful tactic (assuming you are doing so from a position of strength). But the restrictions on being able to initiate HTH are also severe. Barring some brief tactical opening, like a foe who has tripped and fallen or gotten backed into a corner or surrounded, you have to have an MA advantage. That usually means you will have an armor disadvantage, which usually means you are not going to dole out as much damage as you take in HTH, which usually means you are going to lose. So there are definitely two sides to that issue.
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Old 03-28-2021, 11:01 PM   #19
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

We have been through this a number of times. And because of how the rules are written, there are a few different takes on them. Still I believe taking the rules as a whole for exactly what they are saying and this is a summary of how to deal with initiating HTH:

- If you can move onto the foe without getting engaged by him, then you may attempt to initiate during movement phase.

- If not, then you must wait and attempt to initiate during combat phase.

- Attempts may only be tried if they qualify for one of the conditions to do so.

- During the turn you attempt to initiate, if you succeed to engage in HTH, then both you and your foe drop to prone in the same hex, and you then get to attempt a HTH attack.

- If your foe gets to act after your HTH (that is, his DX is lower than yours), then he too may attack in HTH or attempt any other HTH action (such as disengage from HTH roll) this same turn.
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:29 AM   #20
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: How do you adjudicate initiating HTH?

Possibly the most unfortunate wording to occur anywhere in the rules is where SJ dropped in the line "Initiating HTH combat is considered an attack." The word "attack" must be taken informally, as if the sentence is just there to say "Initiating HTH combat is considered a hostile thing to do that will put your opponent in a real bad mood." It cannot be taken literally, as in it's your full action for your turn and it uses up any chance to otherwise attack on the same turn. Taken literally it immediately creates a contradiction with the use of option (b):
"A disengaged figure picks option (b) to initiate HTH combat; he moves onto the enemy’s hex during movement and attacks during combat." (emphasis mine)

See, if "initiating HTH combat" is an "attack" in and of itself, then the quoted paragraph can only be read as making two attacks in one turn okay. But of course it can't mean that! Therefore moving into an enemy hex, by itself, isn't the "attack", and the sentence "Initiating HTH combat is considered an attack" simply cannot be taken at face value.

This thing we should be calling "The Attempt To Initiate HTH" is confusing because it is a thing. It's not formally a Move. It's not formally an Action. But it takes on the role of either depending entirely on context.

For a disengaged figure, using option (b), "The Attempt To Initiate" functions as movement. It occurs during the movement phase, and does not use up the chance to act.

For an engaged figure, using option (o), "The Attempt To Initiate" functions as the attack. It occurs during the action phase, and does use up the chance to act.

Another way to remember there are these two distinct rules for "The Attempt To Initiate" is to think of them as the fast method, and the slow method. If your goal is to enter HTH and make a HTH attack, the fast method let's you do it in one turn, but the slow method takes two turns.

The fast method, which is the one available to disengaged figures, is to take a running leap onto your enemy (but not at greater than 1/2 MA), and immediately (that is, in the same turn) punch or stab if your dagger was in hand. The fast method is very constrained. It's only allowed if you are disengaged to start, and the opponent is (a) already kneeling or prone, (b) turned away from you so you can leap on them from behind, or (c) you are faster than they are. All this is encapsulated in option (b).

The slow method, which can be used to avoid those constraints, suffers the trade-off of requiring two turns. The slow method is encapsulated in option (o). It takes more than one turn to get into HTH combat with option (o) because you have to get adjacent and engaged first (movement portion of the first turn) and then wait until the action portion of the subsequent turn to make your move onto the enemy's hex. If your goal was to get into HTH with an opponent, you'd use this slower two-turn method if option (b) was unavailable to you due to any of its restrictions.

Steve Jackson was brilliant to come up with this concept. He nested one combat game (HTH) inside another (Melee) and made it look effortless. That was far more original and sophisticated than anything else to be found in an RPG of that era. And while I love the subtle distinction in the two ways you can initiate HTH, and how simply and efficiently he worded it all -- much shorter than this blathering post -- it takes more than one or two looks at the rules to appreciate what's really going on here. The rules for initiating HTH vary by context, and it that had been stated a little more explicitly from the beginning we wouldn't have so many folk seeking explanations.
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Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 03-31-2021 at 02:29 AM.
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